Posted by: ianstrope | May 31, 2009

2008 Oscar Nominee: Vicky Christina Barcelona

2008 | Director and Writer: Woody Allen (“Interiors,” “Radio Days”)

Remember those International Coffee ads from the 1980’s? Yeah, this movie is the prequel to those ads. That is the review. For those of you who don’t remember the ads then I guess I’ll give you my take.

I do not love everything Woody Allen does but I certainly find that, more often than not, I enjoy his films. As an auteur he has been one of the most prolific around. He has a style that I enjoy and a way of dealing with what could be pretentious subject matter in a straightforward manner that brings out the comedy and idiocy of the so-called intellectual metropolitan characters that populate his films. “Vicky Christina Barcelona” is no different.

Falling in line with his recent number of pictures starting with “Match Point,” Allen is staying away from his familiar New York City to instead shoot in Europe, and as such the film is beautiful looking. The main actors and the locations are all quite pretty and perform well. Penelope Cruz (she won all sorts of Best Supporting Actress awards for her role here including the Oscar), Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall, and Scarlett Johansson have good chemistry.

The story is about how two female U.S. students, friends with different conceptions of love, find piece of mind in their respective theories through a two month Summer adventure in Spain. It skirts the edge of being “art house” and a pseudo-nihilistic time waster (96 minutes of this did not kill me); however, the film looks good and it does make a point of not overly glorifying the lives of the expatriate who finds love with the listless but “exciting” and independently wealthy artist. If anything it makes fun of this romance novel cliche and demystifies the whole charade as nothing more than something stupid people strive to find.

Any young woman who is thinking of going to Europe for a visit should probably see this movie … and maybe “Hostel.” I don’t know, I didn’t see that one.

"What was his name again?  Let's say ... Juan Antonio Gonzalo."

"What was his name again? Let's say ... Juan Antonio Gonzalo."

Rating: Two and a Half of Five Stars


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